Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reading: Charmed Knits

Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter
by Alison Hansel

I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed in this one. I love Alison's Blue Blog, but I wasn't all that wowed by most of the patterns in here. I have always wanted to make a Weasley sweater and I probably will use this new, improved pattern (larger gauge!), but a lot of the other things aren't all that original (like mini Weasley sweater ornaments; socks and mittens in house colors) or are things I'd never make or use (Molly's technicolor housecoat; clock afghan).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What we did on our weekend, part two

At least this is the fun part :)

I don't think my house has ever been cleaner. Almost every surface is freshly painted (ceilings AND walls), and everything's scrubbed down (necessary, due to the combination of drywall dust and dust from the construction project outside--maybe I haven't mentioned that they're replacing all sewer and water mains on the street we live on? LOTS of outside construction dust), new window coverings are up, and most pictures and other wall decorations are hung.

OK, so pictures of my house, showing the cleanest it has ever been:

We haven't done anything more to the master bedroom or bath.

Grandma's room:

Girls' room:

Main hallway:

T's room (we're working on changing the Harry Potter to Star Wars decor):

The hallway outside the main bathroom (new light fixture):

The main bathroom:
The dining room (man, that vinyl floor looks REALLY bad now):
The kitchen (new light fixture, too):
the hall going downstairs (G. just put the pez dispensers there):
the laundry room (OK, so I still have some cleaning to do there!):
the downstairs hall (still needs the replacement ceiling tiles):
the downstairs rec room:

and the living room:

What we did on our weekend, part one

G. and I had four fun-filled days of painting and cleaning this holiday weekend. This post will include all the "before" pictures--mainly of the ceilings, showing the water stains and drywall-patched places before the painting.

The kitchen:

The dining room, showing one of the MANY drywall screws that popped and needed to be re-set and re-mudded:

The living room ceiling, showing drywall mud and water stains:

The hallway--more mud spots:

And finally, T's room--lots of water stains:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I can't believe it... (part 2)

As if the discovery of the Carpenter ants wasn't bad enough, I was able to reach the window installation guy.

(part of our original contract included replacement of these two living room windows, but not by the same contractor as the addition):
So the salesman who promised us the windows essentially took his $7K cut of our project, and took off. After weeks of trying to track him down, he finally paid half the cost of the windows to the window guy and promised the rest. You guessed it--he is unreachable and the window guy won't install our windows until he is paid.

So we could pay the other half (cheaper than starting over) or we can wait (ha ha) until the salesman decides to show up.

Or, of course, we can (with all of our extra time) pursue legal action against this salesman.

I am so sick of this whole mess...

I can't believe it... (part 1)

So I had just figured out that, financially, we have exactly enough money to make it through the summer. That means we've spent $10K more than the initial bid on the addition and all $5K "extra" beyond the cost of the addition. So what happened yesterday? Well, we'd been seeing a few ants in the kitchen. The added weight of the addition opened up a crack near the door and I saw ants retreating into that crack:

However, when we had G's family over for Memorial Day weekend, his sister and brother-in-law saw one of the ants and said "you have carpenter ants." (they have had a lot of experience with them, as two of their trees have been infested) G's sister told us to look at trees nearby--especially if they have branches hanging over the roof. Well, the one remaining tree in the front of the house has this at it's base:
and when I looked up, there was a string of carpenter ants going into this fork in the tree:
This is the birch tree that we've been treating for birch borers, and cutting dead branches out of for the last two years. I guess Carpenter ants like the soft, dead wood, so they've taken up residence there. The ones we've seen in the house are probably scouts, sent out to find a place to set up a NEW nest. UGH!

Estimates for treatment range from $50 (spray the tree once) to $350 (spray all the trees on our lot and the house and guarantee it to be free of ants for 6 months).

Bye, bye money...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Door Decoration

June is my month to decorate T's classroom door. I combined two "themes"--a looking back one (the kids love to see baby pics of each other) and a moving on to fourth grade one. I'm posting pics for no other reason than the sheer amount of time I spent on this darn thing! :) I'll put it up on Tuesday. (the blank shapes are for kids who haven't turned in pics yet--and the small flowers hold their class pics from THIS year while the bigger shapes are the baby/toddler ones--same shapes and colors so they can match baby pics with this year pics)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Remodel: The Bathroom Is Done!

I just realized that I didn't post pictures after the shower door was installed!

Here's the new shower door:
I completely LOVE the new shower! There was some concern about the water pressure, but it rocks. As G. said, "our new bathroom feels like a hotel"! And here's the vanity, etc. with the lime green accent stuff:
I'm not sure if you can tell from pictures, but the bathroom is huge. Unfortunately, due to the two doors going in, there's not a lot of wall space to put things, but there's a lot of floor space (again, totally unusable, but really cool).

I still need to find some things to hang on the wall (like a clock!), but the basics are there.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Girls' Room: Completed!

Still some boxes to unpack and some decorating to do, but they're sleeping in it tonight!

Moving counter-clockwise around the room:

top part of the wall:bottom part of the wall:
They both love it. (and now T wants HIS room re-done!)

The Good News...

Many of you know (and have seen pics) that T. has been growing his hair for over two years. He has fantastic, thick, shiny, slightly wavy, amazing hair. G. says it came from the fourth dimension, and in a way it really did (since the fourth dimension is time, and it's the same hair my dad had...T. likes it as his connection to Grandpa, who died when T. was only four).

HOWEVER, my children don't really like to have their hair....uh... taken care of. They hate haircuts, hate washing it, and especially hate combing or brushing it. T's hair had reached a point where it was a battle every day, and it was also so long that he was overheating when playing soccer or running around at all. We brought up the idea of Locks Of Love, which is where C. and I had both previously donated. He took a bit of time accepting the idea (cut ALL that hair?), but he thought it was a nice thing to do for kids who didn't have his gift of hair.

We chose a date--after the Spring Sing (because the third graders were doing a 60's number and he wanted his hair long for it). Of course, that date was yesterday. It had taken so long to get him used to the idea, that I didn't want to delay (and he was READY to have the hair gone). So despite all the vermiculite stuff, after tutoring last night I cut his hair.

The before pics:

The during pics:
oooh... maybe a mullet?
Or leave a tail? (that's for Uncle Rich)
He weighed himself before and after and lost a full POUND of hair!

The after pics:

It has been the strangest thing! When he was a baby/toddler, he wore his hair like that all the time, so the hairstyle isn't really new. And the face isn't really new. But he has matured SO much since the last time that he had that hairstyle that it's a really bizarre thing to look at him!